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Schuberta By Giota Tsiliki
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Schuberta - Giota Tsiliki
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    Schuberta bounced a few times up and down on her bed - which shrieked unpleased - and went out in the garden skipping along. Her name wasn’t really Schuberta, but she preferred it over her Christian name. Just like her grandmother, she adored Schubert, Chopin, and all the classical composers. Whenever they came into contact with them something magical happened. A transparent carpet full of drawings gently positioned itself under their feet, and lifted them up in the air. Their tea never got cold, nor did it spill during those undulating trips. These were their best moments. A happy smile spread across their face and everything around was so peaceful and full of joy. Before she died, her grandmother had confided in her some secrets, ‘My little girl, don’t you ever forget that you are a Schuberta. So you shall always have what the others seek. What you need. And if, one day, you lose your way do not fear because a true Schuberta shall never get lost’. Then she leaned her head and fell asleep. Forever. For quite some days she didn’t wish to get out of her room, or to speak to anyone. Her parents respected her will until one day they dragged her to a silly birthday party of a cousin she had never met. Sitting on a rock, she thought about it – and about much more - and felt like a tiny, tiny dot, so insignificantly small that a huge giant could blow her away into nothing. She wasn’t surprised when the rock sighed along with her. Instead, she stroked its back and asked what was unbearable in this life. The rock sighed again and answered that no matter how heavy the people sitting on it, it didn’t feel the weight. Neither does it care about the winter winds that whip it, the snow that covers it or the sun that burns it. What is unbearable is to lack a door in its soul. Schuberta pondered for a little while but didn’t say anything; she only caressed its back and stayed like this until the sun went down.

    One day before autumn, Schuberta decided to go out in the garden to try the swings. She was bored and the grown-ups were sleeping. She briefly tested the ropes to make sure they were ok, and climbed up. She vigorously tilted her legs back and forth so that the swing spread out higher and higher. Every time she went up she took a close look at the back of the leaves. They were silvery, with a thick string in the centre. Some of them bore marks. One was being eaten by a caterpillar. She wondered whether its bites would hurt it; maybe if she was a leaf she would understand. The tree sighed and told her that an offering is no pain. Failing to understand, Schuberta frowned her mouth. She asked it what was beautiful in this life. It bent a branch unveiling a maggot that was turning into a butterfly. She reached to catch it but the tree softly lifted back the branch making the butterfly fly away. Winter had arrived bearing clouds and rain. Darkness fell early. One sleepless night, Schuberta kept on tossing and turning in her sheets. At last, she got up and sat on the window sill. The shadows lurking outside didn’t frighten her. She wished she could catch them. She stretched out her arm and a shadow came to sit in her palm. Try as she might, she failed to capture it. The shadow laughed. ‘Shadow, you are so flexible’, she said, ‘I can’t catch you’. ‘I wish I could have you whenever I want’. The shadow laughed again, shifted position and made itself comfortable on her wrist. She kept staring at it in an effort to understand what she could do for it. She asked it what is that a shadow needs. The shadow replied that shadows are indications, a mere mark in people’s mind to measure their existence by. ‘So what is it that you need?’, Schuberta asked again. ‘I told you I’m a shadow’, the shadow grew angry. ‘Oh no, I didn’t mean that. What I’m asking is whether you have a need’. ‘My need is greater than desire and smaller than light’. A silver beam shone by the moon made the shadow stretch, expand, and slip outside.